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I love monster movies. If it has big monsters or big robots I’m in. 100%. Even better if it has big monsters fighting big robots. But those are few and far between with the exception of Pacific Rim. I think it’s because I’ve always been drawn to sci-fi and fantasy movies and books. The idea of these other worldly beasts terrorizing cities was just always cool to me. Godzilla and King Kong were kings among monsters. But the ones I always loved, or at least what probably made me love monsters in the first place, were the Universal Monsters of the 1940s.
When I was a kid, on Saturday nights, channel 12 would play one of these monster movies. That’s where I first saw Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster and Lon Cheney as the Wolfman. Of course they were black and white, but that was part of the appeal. The special effects were non existent and if there were special effects it was usually animation.
I would record these movies as often as I could. Yes on VHS. VHS was a tape. A tape was a ribbon between two spools that would record information like camera film. VHS was an extension of that. We used to need special machines to record programs from the TV onto the tape so we could watch it later. Where was I? Oh yeah…I would record these movies and watch them as often as I could until they got recorded over or the quality made them unwatchable. I haven’t seen these movies anywhere since then. At least not collected together. And then Universal made the Mummy with Brendan Fraser and then disappointingly again with Tom Cruise. That was a horror show of a different kind. I get what they were trying to do and I was excited by it, I was behind it. I loved that the old Universal movies all took place in the same universe. You would see these monsters show up in each others movies. Then they would all show up in an Abbot & Costello movie.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like we’re going to get a new Universal shared universe any time soon. So I’ll go back to watching those old black and white movies, and I’ll show them to my son and watch him roll his eyes as he divides his attention between that and whatever annoying YouTube gamer that’s yelling at his game and making ridiculous voices.
If 30 movies seems like too much of a commitment try out this smaller collection of essential films.
These movies represent an era of film making that has been lost. And for one reason or another I’ve been drawn to them my whole life.
What was your favorite monster movie growing up? Let us know in the comments below.
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